In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. ~ Proverbs 3:6

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

California Raod Trip Day 3 Part 2 - Yosemite (Mariposa Grove)

The other day, I posted here about the planning ofour California road trip. You can read more out this trip by clicking on the follwowing posts: Day 1(San Diego) ,  Day 2 (LA) and Day 3 Part 1 (LA).

California Road Trip Day Three Itinerary

In preparation for day three, I had in a folder the following: an itinerary for the day, hotel info/reservations, printed directions (in case our phones failed us) and menus from the websites of the restaurants we were going to.

7:00 a.m. - wake up and get ready

8:00 a.m. - eat breakfast at hotel and check out

8:30 a.m. - get gas before driving thirty minutes to Santa Monica & Venice Beaches

9:00 a.m. - watch the early morning surfers on Santa Monica Beach

9:30 a.m. - walk the Venice Boardwalk
10:30 a.m. - eat an early lunch at Sidewalk Cafe
11:00 a.m - walk up the shore from Venice Beach to the Santa Monica Pier

11:30 a.m. - walk the Santa Monica Pier

12:00 p.m. - begin 5 hour drive to Yosemite

3:00 p.m. - stop for gas and groceries at Wal-Mart in Tulare, CA

3:30 p.m. - stop for dinner at In-N-Out Burger in Fresno, CA

5:00 p.m. - enter Mariposa Grove through the south entrance of Yosemite National Park

6:30 p.m. - drive one hour up to Glacier Point

7:30 p.m. - watch the sun set on Glacier Point then drive 2 hours to our camp ground

9:30 p.m. - check into our yurt at Yosemite Lakes

10:00 p.m - try to get a good night's sleep

A few pics of our day…..

We left LA right on schedule and made great time as we journeyed toward Yosemite.

We stopped for an early dinner at the In-N-Out Burger in Fresno, CA, just before getting onto HWY 41, where we knew civilization was going to start getting scarce.  This was our first In-N-Out experience.  The burgers were YUMMO, but the fries weren’t that great.  BTW, we made sure to ask for extra ketchup packets, so we could use them when we ate our hot dogs at the camp ground.  We also took extra butter and jam from our breakfast that morning, so we could use it for our toast at the campground ;)

Just as my itinerary said, we stopped at Wal-Mart right off of HW 99 in Tulare to pick up a few groceries for our two day stay in Yosemite.  The list had to be simple and purposeful.  I didn’t want to waste anything, but I also knew that once we got near Yosemite, stores would be nearly impossible to find.  I needed food for two breakfast meals, one lunch meal, two dinner meals, a few snacks for our backpacks and beverages for two days.  I preplanned the following list and we were in and out of Wal-Mart in no time:  bread, eggs, pre-cooked bacon, cooking spray, lunch meat, sliced cheese, Ziploc bags, chips, fruit, granola bars, hot dogs, hot dog buns, and12 pack of sprite 0.

Just as planned, we entered the south gate of Yosemite National Park on schedule and made our way to visit the sequoias of Mariposa Grove.

One word…..WOW!!!

Pictures do not do justice to how majestic these trees really are!

All I can say is that if you haven’t been and you every get a chance to go…..DEFINITELY GO!!!

Mariposa Grove is easy to navigate.  We pretty much stayed in the lower grove, but some people make a day of it and hike up into the upper groves.

After walking the trail for an hour or so, we made our way back to the car and that’s when things didn’t go exactly as we had planned……

Maybe it’s because we were so taken in with the beauty around us…maybe it’s because we were tired…maybe it’s just because we are plain idiots (that's probably the reason), but at this point in our trip we made a huge mistake!

The original plan was to go to Glacier Point after Mariposa Grove if we had time.  Yosemite is HUGE, and since Glacier Point is on the same side of the park as Mariposa Grove, it was going to be the most efficient use of time to do the two on the same day.  Glacier Point is also supposed to have the best views at sunset, which was another reason for wanting to make the drive to Glacier Point in the evening.  We ended up leaving Mariposa Grove on schedule, and had time to make the hour drive up to Glacier Point on our way to the campground.  Our campground told us to call them if we were going to be arriving after hours.  As we were leaving Mariposa Grove, we decided to call the campground while we still had cell phone service to let them know we would be arriving around 9:30.

Here’s where we messed up.  We would later find out that we dialed the park office instead of the ranger’s office.  We called what we thought was the correct number, and heard a voicemail letting us know that the hours of the office were closed.  We continued to drive a few miles towards Glacier Point, but Matt decided to turn around and head back to our campground for fear of getting to our campground too late, not getting a key to our yurt and having to sleep in our car:/   Frazzled and tired, we apparently made a wrong turn when we tried to backtrack.  We didn’t realize this mistake until an hour and half later!!! It was around that time that we found a bit of cell phone service which allowed us to realize that we were 90 miles away from our campground, when we thought we were only a few miles away!  At that point the directions that I had printed out were useless to us, so we rerouted on our iphone….but then we lost cell phone service again, and our phone was officially useless to us.L

Bottom Line – We ended up getting lost….at night….in the mountains….and it took us five hours from the time we left Mariposa Groves to the time we actually arrived to our campground!!!!  That night was probably the worst part of our trip!  Mistake number one was dialing the wrong number.   If we would have called the right number (which I printed on my itenerary), then the rangers would have told us that they would have our key waiting for us when we got to the campground (because we later found out the ranger station is open 24 hours and there would have never been a problem).  We would have driven to Glacier Point as planned, followed our printed directions as planned, and then arrived at our campground on time as planned!  Mistake number two was making a wrong turn once we decided to change plans.   That one turn cost us hours of time!!!  The new route that the iphone gave us was very scary and stressful driving for my husband as we slowly drove up the side of the mountain at night, knowing that we were only a few feet from falling to our deaths!!!  I’m not even exaggerating!!! It was scarier than any ice storm, snow storm or blizzard that I have ever driven in!  I’m glad my husband was driving, because I don’t think I could have driven that at night!  For three hours the only light we had was our headlights and the light of the moon.  The road was too dangerous and narrow to turn around, so we kept going up and up and up.....and around and around and around!  We finally started descending the last thirty minutes of our drive as we came upon a town (if you can call it that, it looked more like a ghost town) and began driving on more normal roads.  One word….RAILINGS!!!  Yosemite should seriously consider investing in some to comfort those of us who live in the Midwest!  We eventually ran into a police officer, and he led us to our destination. 

We arrived at our campground close to midnight, tired and worn from our unplanned adventure!  At that point, all we wanted was a good night’s sleep, and our yurt was just the place to find it:)  If you don’t know what a yurt is…well, I’ll just have to explain that in my next post when I plan on sharing more of our Yosemite adventures with you;)

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